Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Croatian Copenhagen: 170 Kg Waste per Resident is Separated in Koprivnica

October 12, 2022 - In Koprivnica, you will not find areas full of garbage. Or bags in the city centre waiting to be picked up. In Koprivnica, neighbours don't snitch on others because, in Croatian Copenhagen, everyone knows how to separate waste.

As RTL reported, "Every house here has a small composter, and everything is separated. Well, no problem. There are plenty of containers, there are recycling yards. You just need education and discipline," said Ksenija from Koprivnica.

"Did you know that Koprivnica is in the top 5 cities for waste separation? - I didn't. - You didn't know? - No. - Do you separate waste? - Yes. We are well trained here, paper one bin, plastic other, food in the third..." said Zlatica from Koprivnica.

If you thought that Koprivnica could only boast of Vegeta or Pajo Kanizaj - you were wrong. Eighteen years. For so long, have they known where paper, metal, and plastic go. They are our Switzerland; they separate waste better than the Parisians. They are better than Zagreb and Split. They are number two in waste separation in Croatia. Fifty-five percent was their performance for last year. They separate 170 kilograms of waste per resident. That's half a kilo every day. They promise that this year the stats will be even better.

Here is what they say about the people of Zagreb:

"Of course, it all makes sense, but people need to get used to it. It seems revolutionary to them now, maybe it came too suddenly, but people will get used to it. If the city insists," commented Alojz Balog. Because in Koprivnica, they did insist. You put plastic in paper, cans in mixed recycling, or cooked food in organic waste. It doesn't matter - instead of a fine, they'll leave a note on the bin. "If people often make mistakes, let's leave a message, let's warn them. There aren't many problems with separation. Sometimes they put a tetrapak in paper when it should go in plastic, so we leave a note of that," said Hrvoje Kuzmic, a worker at Komunalac.

They have boxes, underground tanks, overhead bins, recycling yards, and disposal sites for cooking oil; everything is possible in Koprivnica. And while in Zagreb, there are blue, brown, and yellow bags, there are none in Koprivnica.

"With mixed recycling, we immediately started with bins; for the rest, we started with bags, but then we decided not to create additional waste because it doesn't make sense, and now we have bins for all four types of waste," said the director of the waste management sector, Saša Grubacevic. This means that if you get a bin annually, you pay HRK 74 for the 120-litre one, which includes one removal per month.

As for biowaste - they make compost from it, which they use to fertilise gardens, fields, and flowers in the city. And while in natural conditions, the process would take months, in Koprivnica, they produce organic fertiliser in eight weeks. And everyone wants to buy Koprivnica's fertiliser - from Zagreb to Zadar.

"We make first-class compost with the bio-waste we collect at the doorstep. It is further used in agriculture. People can buy it here; they can get some for free sometimes," said Grubacevic.

It wasn't easy at first. But they learned quickly. Now everyone, from kids in kindergarten and the elderly in nursing homes, knows how to separate. They manage their waste so well that the Brazilian embassy asked for advice. "We are Podravci. We have learned to deal with all issues," says Balog.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Croatia Has One of Best Waste Tire Recycling Systems in EU

ZAGREB, 10 April 2022 - Croatia has one of the best waste tire recycling systems in Europe, with more than 90% of used tires being used for materials recovery, which is above the national target of 80%, the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund has said.

Using tires for materials recovery results in the production of rubber granulate, textile, steel and rubber chips. They are also used to make products such as rubber flooring for playgrounds, paths, walkways and running tracks.

Rubber granulate is used in bitumen mixtures for asphalt and in making artificial turf for soccer fields, floor coverings, wheels for dumpsters and garbage cans.

The steel obtained from tires is a raw material used in steelworks and the textile is used by cement factories for energy recovery. Waste tires are also an excellent source of energy and can be used to make fuel with excellent properties.

The business and research sectors have taken a step further with the aim of using recycled rubber floor coverings for a cleaner environment.

The Varaždin-based Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering and Gumiimpex, the only Croatian company that uses waste tires for materials recovery, have been implementing a research project called "Recycled rubber and solar photocatalysis: Ecological innovation for passive air and health protection".

The project, funded by the EU, is aimed at designing a product that will use natural processes - solar energy and photocatalysts - to eliminate organic air pollutants in urban areas.

A professor at the Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering, Aleksandra Anić Vučinić, notes that using recycled rubber floor coverings in the future would make the environment cleaner.

There are three tire recycling companies in Croatia - Gumiimpex - GRP, which uses waste tires for materials recovery, and the cement factories Holcim Croatia from Koromačno and Nexe from Našice, which use tires for energy recovery.

The system of waste tire recycling in Croatia was established in 2006, and it has been organised by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.

In 2020, 28,480 tonnes of tires were put on the Croatian market. As much as 88% (25,066 tonnes) of waste tires were collected, and of that amount, 83% was processed, with 96% of the processed tires having been used for materials recovery and only 4% for energy recovery.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Croatian Parliament Discusses Radioactive Waste Management

ZAGREB, 9 Feb 2022 - The problem of systematic radioactive waste management in Croatia will be resolved with the construction of a radioactive waste management facility, Žarko Katić, state secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, said in parliament on Wednesday.

Speaking during a discussion on the proposal to amend the Radiological and Nuclear Safety Act, Katić said that only low and medium radioactive waste from the medicine and science industry, as well as from the Krško nuclear power plant, would be disposed of in the future facility, and not highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.

As for the low and medium radioactive waste from Krško, it is mostly disposable material worn by workers and discarded at the end of the day, he added.

Katić said that industrial and medical radioactive waste was currently disposed of in two storage facilities in Zagreb - the Ruđer Bošković Institute and the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health. It currently amounts to 11.5 cubic metres and is expected to reach about 100 cubic metres by 2060.

With the waste from Krško, this amount will be an additional 1,130 cubic metres, and by the time Krško closes in 2043, it is estimated that it will have reached 1,780 cubic metres, Katić said.

MPs did not have any major objections to the proposal and, in light of the current energy crisis, a portion of them supported the use nuclear energy as clean energy.

"Nuclear energy is needed. It is clean and our future lies in nuclear energy," said Marin Miletić of the Bridge party. Darko Klasić of the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) agreed, saying that nuclear energy is "a clean, safe, competitive and low-carbon source of energy."

"The world has said yes to nuclear power plants. We need to have them because with growing consumption they are the only good, albeit not perfect, solution for now," said the Homeland Movement's Davor Dretar.

"I am sure that people in Dalmatia would not support the construction of a nuclear power station," said Social Democrat Renata Sabljar Dračevac, stressing that the use of nuclear energy in Croatia requires a national consensus.

Anka Mrak Taritaš (Civil and Liberal Alliance) also said that Croatia should declare its political view on nuclear energy.

Katić said there were three reasons why the present law needed amending - to align it with the law on the Fund for financing the decommissioning and disposal of radioactive waste and with EU directives, and to improve the system overall. He announced that a nuclear emergency response plan would be adopted soon.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Krk Island Determined to Become Europe’s First Zero Waste Island

February 8th, 2022 - Krk island is on its way to officially join the list of some five hundred European cities and municipalities that have implemented the international Zero Waste strategy

The management of Ponikve, the main utility company on Krk island, recently met with representatives of Zelena akcija (Green Action), an organisation which is working on implementation of the zero waste strategy in Croatia.

Experts of Zelena akcija analysed the waste management system of Krk island and considered which tasks Krk has yet to fulfill in order to position and brand itself as the first zero waste island in the European Union. They discussed this with Ponikve director Neven Hržić and assistant director Ivan Jurešić, reports Novi list/Mladen Trinajstić.

Waste sorting on Krk already has a 60 percent share in overall waste management, according to Jurešić. The population of the biggest Kvarner island has no intention of stopping there, instead planning to achieve even more ambitious goals.

‘Our cooperation with the organisation [Zelena akcija] is part of the project "Transitioning to zero waste Europe, one community at a time", which, as you might remember, our utility company, or rather the island of Krk, joined last year in July when we signed the decision for Krk to adopt the international zero waste strategy’, said Jurešić.

At the meeting, the parties discussed and agreed upon further steps in the implementation of the zero waste model of maximum reduction of waste, as well as reuse and recycling.

‘The recently held meeting gave us an opportunity to go over and agree on some new, additional measures and activities that we will jointly work on in the coming years, all with the aim of meeting the demanding parameters required for the official inclusion of our island in this prestigious European ecological list’, said Jurešić for Novi list.

Among the agreed goals is a reduction of mixed waste generated by the island’s population - including tourists - from 235kg per person (2019) to 150kg per person annually. They also plan for separate waste collection to reach a 70 percent share in overall waste management.

They have also agreed on certain steps to achieve better use of biodegradable waste, and are planning to establish a so-called Centre for Reuse, a facility where prematurely discarded items will be given a new life.

In order to meet these goals, the Ponikve company will work to improve the method of separate waste collection, charge for collection based on the amount of generated mixed waste, increase home composting, open the mentioned centre for reuse, and introduce numerous models to reduce waste generated on the island, all in the coming years. 

Representatives of Zelena akcija consider all the proposed measures feasible, and the agreed goals achievable. They fully expect the local self-government on Krk to meet the set criteria for a zero waste certification.

‘We are pleased with the successful cooperation with the local authorities on Krk island, as they are among the few in our country to have met the goal of separate waste collection in the share of 50 percent by the end of 2020. In cooperation with us they set even more ambitious goals and measures that will help them secure a better quality of life for the island inhabitants, but also put Krk island on the European map of the most successful local communities when it comes to sustainable waste management’, said representatives of Zelena akcija in a statement after the meeting.


Sunday, 6 February 2022

Croatian Islands Need Recycling Yards and Waste Sorting Facilities

ZAGREB, 6 Feb 2022 - The Island Movement NGO has called on the residents of Croatian Adriatic islands to dispose of and sort their waste properly so it can be transported to the mainland for recycling, while local and state authorities have been urged to create infrastructure to promote a circular economy.

"Waste disposal is a major challenge for the islands, especially during the tourist season," warned Paula Bolfan, the movement's coordinator who organised the first in a series of "island dialogues" last week.

Speaking in an online discussion on the circular economy on the islands, Bolfan cited the example of Silba island off the city of Zadar where plastic wage management is a challenge. "Retail shops that are not larger than the size prescribed by law do not have to accept empty plastic bottles, and Silba only has two such shops, leaving the island full of plastic bottles during the summer."

Antonio Viskić from the Cres Lošinj utility company, which covers the two northern Adriatic islands, stressed the importance of building a regional waste management centre, saying "we don't have a single active waste dump on Cres and Lošinj any longer, as all the waste goes to the Istrian regional centre."

"We have set up separate containers for paper, glass and plastic waste, and have built stations for the transport of mixed municipal waste from the islands and recycling yards. Also, investment has begun in a waste sorting facility at Mali Lošinj," Viskić said of the steps the two islands were taking to achieve the circular economy.

Katarina Gregov, director of the Tourism Board of the island of Zlarin, off Šibenik, spoke of the "For a Plastic-Free Zlarin" initiative. "In order to reduce our plastic footprint, we have developed an idea to replace all single-use plastic products with multi-use and alternative materials," she said.

The initiative was launched four years ago and is supported by the entire island community, including cafe, restaurant and shop owners, who stopped using disposable plastic products. This volunteer project was praised by former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović at an annual UN General Assembly meeting.

Irena Hrković from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund commended the cooperation with Cres and Lošinj, announcing that this year local government units would be able to apply for tenders for vehicles using alternative fuels and for funding to increase their recycling capacity and clean up their landfills.

Hrković said that illegal landfills were a major problem, adding that nearly HRK 28 million (€3.7m) had been spent on landfill remediation.

Professor Davor Škrlec from the Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, who had dealt with the issue of the circular economy as a former member of the European Parliament, said that "the problem with waste disposal on the islands is seasonality."

"It is necessary to build sorting facilities on the islands so that waste can be properly separated and then transported to a waste processing facility on the mainland," Škrlec said.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 17 December 2021

Prelog among Best Towns in Europe in Terms of Sustainable Waste Management

ZAGREB, 17 Dec 2021  - The Zero Waste Europe network has published new best sustainable waste management practices in Europe, which include those in the northern Croatian town of Prelog and 11 neighbouring municipalities, the Green Action NGO said on Friday.

"Croatian towns and municipalities that are part of the European network have continued advancing their waste management systems, achieving new successes. In terms of their results, they are a decade ahead of the goals set in July by the new law put forward by the unambitious Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry," said Marko Košak of the Green Action.

Prelog, the first Croatian town to adopt a zero waste strategy, and 11 neighbouring municipalities (Belica, Donja Dubrava, Donji Vidovec, Sveta Marija, Goričan, Donji Kraljevec, Kotoriba, Dekanovec, Domašinec, Martijanec, Podturen), have improved their result, with a cumulative result of 57.25% of all waste being sorted in 2019 to 65.23% in 2020.

The public sanitation company PRE-KOM in in charge of waste management in Prelog and the neighbouring communities.

The Green Action says the significance of this success is best evidenced by the fact that the EU had set the target rate of waste sorting for Croatia at 50% in the period until 2035.

"All 12 local government units, which are part of PRE-KOM's waste management system, have met the target of 50% waste sorting which was set for Croatia in the period until 2020, and some of them were much more successful. For example, Prelog, with 70%, and Belica municipality, with an impressive waste sorting rate of 80%, show that one can achieve a goal if there is a will," said Košak.

Most towns in Croatia not even close to 20% 

At the same time, most towns in Croatia are not even close to a waste sorting rate of 20% while some are at 0%, with the ministry's blessing, Košak said.

The Green Action says that excellent news is coming from Krk island, where seven local government units have an average waste sorting rate of 53%. Croatia was to have met the waste sorting average of 50% by 2020, he said, noting that communities on Krk island want to achieve a better result, notably in terms of waste generation and increasing recycling and reuse.

The NGO said it looked forward to cooperation with Zagreb and its Čistoća public sanitation company on waste collection and waste disposal charges, on which a decision would soon be put to public consultation.

The decision is expected to help fix the chaotic system of waste management and unjust waste disposal charges in the capital, which has been burdening its residents due to the former city administration's having ignored the problem for a long time, he said.

At meetings of the city's task force, the Green Action has given recommendations on individualising waste disposal charges to make them depend on the quantity of exclusively unsorted waste generated, which will motivate citizens to sort and reduce waste.

For more news, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Međimurje County Champion in Municipal Waste Sorting

ZAGREB, 15 Aug, 2021 - The Croatian municipal waste sorting champions, small municipalities in the northern Međimurje County, stand next to the most advanced European regions, while the national average remains below 20% and some cities, including county seats, are still not sorting any waste.

The data comes from an Environment and Nature Protection Bureau preliminary report on municipal waste sorting in 2020.

Croatia was supposed to recycle 50% of its municipal waste by 2020, so the fact that the percentage rose from 11.52% in 2018 to 18% last year does not make experts optimistic.

Of the ten municipalities and towns with the highest sorting percentage, nine are in Međimurje County, followed by Krk island and several other cities.

Of the 556 local government units in Croatia, Belica Municipality ranks first, sorting 79.76% of its waste, followed by the town of Prelog with 70.98%.

Five local governments which sort between 60 and 70% of their waste are also in Međimurje County, as are five sorting between 50 and 60%.

In the latter group are also the town of Koprivnica and seven local government units on Krk. This island in the northern Adriatic was the first in Croatia to sort waste and is close to becoming an energy self-sufficient island without carbon emissions. The group also includes Semeljci in Osijek-Baranja County.

All those local government units have met the waste-sorting target set by the EU.

The list of local government units sorting zero of their waste is much longer, the champions being Karlovac and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties.

Plitvice Lakes Municipality, where the national park of the same name is located, is one of six in Lika-Senj County that sort zero of their waste, including the county seat Gospić.

Virovitica-Podravina County also has six local government units sorting zero of their waste, while Šibenik-Knin and Zadar counties each have five, Brod-Posavina, Sisak-Moslavina and Split-Dalmatia counties each have four, Zagreb County has two, and Bjelovar-Bilogora and Primorje-Gorski Kotar counties each have one local government unit not sorting any waste.

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

New Waste Management Legislation Will Make Bills Higher, Says Opposition

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - Some opposition parties claimed on Tuesday that the new waste management law will result in higher bills for citizens and that this will in particular affect lessors and small entrepreneurs.

The entire waste management system is based on waste management centres which are very expensive and that will be evident once citizens receive their new bills, said MP Sanja Udović (SDP).

She claimed that in those areas where these centres have been established, citizens can expect their bills to increase by 100 percent. "We, in Primorje Gorski Kotar County can soon expect the end price to go up, that means the price citizens pay will increase by some 30 to 40 percent," she said.

MP Marin Lerotić (IDS) underscored that the new bill doesn't go in favour of citizens nor lessors or small businesses who have been categorised as non-households and will pay a higher price.

"Shopping centres will pay the same, minimal service, as will shoemakers, or camp sites for up to 10,000 people will pay the same as a family-owned camp site with a capacity of up to 12 people. Hotels with a capacity of 100 rooms will pay the same price as a lessor of a flat," warned Lerotić.

MP Josip Borić (HDZ) explained that the government was providing a framework for prices to be defined by the local government.

"The opportunity exists to reduce the price for those who need to be rewarded. It contains criteria that allow that reduction for enterprises to certain household members, you can make them up yourself and include them in the price list," he said.

Local government officials have to realise that their role in waste management will be more complex, constructive, creative and more responsible, state-secretary in the Economy Ministry, Mile Horvat said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Circular Economy on Islands Lags Due to Low Environmental Awareness

February 17, 2021 – In a video podcast entitled "Energy Transition on the Islands," organized by the Island Movement initiative, participants warned that underdeveloped environmental awareness is one of the main obstacles to implementing the circular economy on islands.

As Hina reports, the deputy mayors of Hvar and Cres warned that citizens are still unaware of the green economy's importance, which makes it challenging to introduce a circular economy on islands.

"The most difficult phase in achieving sustainable development is to explain to ordinary citizens why the energy transition would be a step forward," said Marin Gregorović, deputy mayor of Cres.

The circular economy is a production and consumption model that encourages sharing, borrowing, reuse, repair, recovering, and recycling of products and materials to achieve the product's added value. Such a concept has a positive effect on reducing the amount of waste.

Commenting on the inefficient disposal of waste on the islands, Gregorović noted that "the system is not working well" and that "we have not yet reached the stage of resolving the issue of biowaste disposal."

"Although we have a recycling yard and dual waste management on Cres, and we plan to build a composting plant, the story of the circular economy is still just – a story," said Gregorović.

Kuzman Novak, deputy mayor of Hvar town, added that "the fundamental problem at the national level is waste management."

"We take the garbage bags out of the house, and they are taken away, which we don't see, so we don't think they are our concern anymore. That is the key problem," Novak said, explaining the underdeveloped environmental awareness of citizens.

"When we talk about sustainable development, it's not just about solar power plants and waste management, it's essentially developing an awareness not to be selfish," said Novak.

The new EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy is one of the key elements in achieving climate neutrality, which is a central goal of the European Green Plan. Voting on the new EU circular economy action plan, the European Parliament this month called for additional measures to achieve a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, and fully circular economy by 2050.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Five Smart Containers for Separate Waste In the Center of Rijeka

December 16, 2020 – The Rijeka utility company for cleaning and waste management "Čistoća" introduced five more new smart modular containers for mixed municipal and valuable, recyclable waste in the center of Rijeka.

As writes, to upgrade the existing waste collection service, "Čistoća "already installed 12 smart containers in June 2019, of which 7 in the very center of Rijeka. Five new smart containers will be installed in the city center area: in Trpimirova Street and on the Riva (at bus stations), on Karolina Riječka Pier, on the 111th Brigade of the Croatian Army Square, and Klobučarić Square.

The director of "Čistoća", Jasna Kukuljan, said that the containers have built-in fill sensors that send data to the management software, that is, the tanks themselves report the need for emptying. They also have a press that compresses waste, thus enabling the disposal of more waste than is possible in conventional containers.

Artists will paint the containers

All the needed energy-smart containers use a photovoltaic panel located on top of the container body. Using advanced technologies achieves significant savings in time, human resources, and energy and contributes to reducing emissions of pollutants into the environment.

In addition to being useful, Rijeka artists will also beautifully paint the containers. Namely, through the competition, "Čistoća" selected the 20 best artists from Rijeka who will paint smart containers with their works. Therefore, they will undoubtedly be interesting and attractive elements of urban equipment.

These are the artworks: Biciklistica, author Tina Radosavljević; Cranes, by Ariana Sušanj; Octopus, by Hana Dutina; Let's recycle in the city that flows by the author Nora Vlaša, and Love your city – think green, author Mirta Tomulić.

Rijeka separates a third of the waste

Deputy Mayor Marko Filipović emphasized the importance of applying new technologies in all segments, including the one related to waste collection, which places Rijeka at the very top of Smart Cities – cities that are entirely ready for the digital transition.

In addition to containers, citizens collect waste separately through recycling yards. In Rijeka, they currently have three fixed and two mobile recycling yards at their disposal, and the plan is to expand the system of recycling yards.

Together with waste collected in recycling yards, Rijeka separates almost 30 percent of its waste.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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